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Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan for Portland Metro TOD Program

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development today released the Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan created for the Metro TOD Program in Portland, Oregon. In conjunction with the release, CTOD published a web page providing guidance on how the plan contents can be nationally applied.

CTOD developed the Strategic Plan in collaboration with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, Inc., and Metro TOD Program staff. The plan will ensure that the program maximizes the region's transit-oriented development opportunities and effectively leverages additional resources to advance TOD in station areas and frequent-bus corridors. 

Metro is the only Metropolitan Planning Organization in the country with a TOD Program that, among other things, invests specifically in the bricks and mortar of development projects with the intention of pushing the market to build more sustainably. While the Strategic Plan looks at the range of investments needed to promote TOD, it focuses on the program’s activities.

The plan evaluates existing conditions around Portland, classifies station areas and corridors based on their readiness to support TOD, offers guidelines for phasing of TOD Program work and discusses future activities and funding strategies.

Chris Yake, senior TOD planner at Metro and the project manager, said the plan “will help us make the most of our regional investments in compact mixed-use development. Most importantly, it will allow us to work with our local jurisdictional partners and the development community to seize opportunities and address constraints related to TOD across the Metro region.”

Abigail Thorne-Lyman, Reconnecting America's project director and lead author of the Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan, explained that "Grouping shared market and physical characteristics in station areas and corridors can help regional and local agencies sort out the investments needed to promote TOD at the neighborhood scale – when expensive and time consuming station area planning is not possible. And regional mapping of current conditions can change the way our neighborhoods and transit systems are designed, to support TOD."

As CTOD's supplemental web page points out, local governments and transit agencies across the nation could benefit from the approaches developed for the Strategic Plan.

“This TOD Strategic Plan can be a model for other regions in the country seeking to leverage investments in transit to benefit larger community and economic development strategies,” said Sam Zimbabwe, director of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. “With more and more communities building transit systems nationwide, this resource shows them that they don’t need to start from square one.”

Portland Metro’s TOD Strategic Plan webpage